A Little Help, Please
Sherri Wolson applies nonprofit research to everyday donor and volunteer dilemmas.
Measuring outcomes is a key element in finding out whether all our investments (i.e. time, money, and effort) are paying off. It's also a great way to help us see what areas need improvement and possibly even how to improve them. But from the perspective of nonprofit staff, there is a big difference between the abstract idea of measuring outcomes and the actual experience of being measured.
How are donors perceived at your organization? This question, raised at a recent SVP workshop, gave me pause. At first I thought, what’s not to like about donors? They provide the funding to allow nonprofits to take action. Right? Maybe when some people think about donors, they think about reality TV “rich people,” like the Kardashians or the Real Housewives. Surely, real donors aren’t as wacky as that. Then, I remembered one particular donor visit.
This isn’t the post I intended to publish. My original post was a list of do’s and don’ts for fundraising event organizers. Maybe I’ve attended too many events. Maybe I’m still a little scarred from the last crowded, overly long, poorly catered event I attended. The post was a rant. A pretty angry one.
Spring fundraising event season is here. From all of the numerous events and invitations, how should you decide which events to attend and which to decline?
This fall, three moms at my daughter’s school were diagnosed with breast cancer. Of course I would express my support and drop off a meal, but I felt like I needed to do something more. Something bigger. Something to help them and other women diagnosed with this common disease.
Honestly, I wasn’t sure how many people would show up to talk about outcomes measurement when they could be holiday shopping or spending time with their families. Yet folks didn't want to leave last week's "Leap of Reason" book discussion. It made me wonder: should SVP be doing more to support nonprofits in measuring their results?
I’ll admit it. More than once I’ve looked at a board meeting agenda and thought, I hope we wrap up the financial discussions quickly so we can move on to the interesting part. Last Thursday, however, David Greco from the Nonprofit Finance Fund convinced me to change my tune.